From toddlers to teens, there is something for everyone in the exciting city of Sydney. Enjoy a family picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens with idyllic views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, take a ferry to one of the beautiful bays for some fresh seafood, have some family fun on the beach or experience a close encounter with animals at the zoo! If you are looking for where to stay, where to eat and amazing things to do with kids in Sydney – this guide is for you!
Sydney's public transport is a great way to get around the city, and to access trains, ferries, buses and light rail you will need an opal card. Enjoy the benefits of daily travel caps and unlimited travel on Sundays for AUD2.50 per person. Score!
There's a plentiful array of accommodation options all over Sydney, so depending on whether you want a luxe hotel in the CBD or a beachside apartment on the coast, you're sure to find what you're looking for. Check out our guide to the Top Ten Family Friendly Hotels in Sydney. Here's a quick look at what you can expect:
5-Star Luxury - Located in the centre of Sydney, Four Seasons Sydney is the ideal base for exploring the city. The hotel offers suites and connecting rooms, perfect for families. Situated in Circular Quay, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House can easily be ticked off your bucket list from here. Younger kids can enjoy the complimentary amenities including child-size bathrobes and kid-friendly menus in both the restaurants and in-room dining. The friendly and knowledgeable concierge is great for arranging family activities and day trips as well as babysitting services (six hours notice required) allowing parents to sneak in a cheeky date night!
Apartment Living - For families who prefer a little more space, Meriton Suites make the perfect home away from home. The Pitt Street apartments are based in the heart of the city, located close to the new Westfield shopping centre and just minutes away from Darling Harbour, offering plenty of dining and shopping options. Alternatively, dine in the multi-room apartment, furnished with a full kitchen, spacious living and dining spaces, internal laundry facilities as well as a flat-screen TV, perfect for those lazy mornings!
Homestyle - While Airbnb is gaining increasing popularity here, local site Stayz.com.au has been helping families find their perfect vacation home for many years. With over 40,000 holiday rentals on the site, all you need to do is choose your suburb and accommodation type to narrow it down. Everything from booking to communicating with homeowners is done through the site.
Sydney is a foodie paradise and some of the best eateries in the country can be found here, often in unexpected places! Do your research before you go and make reservations in advance if you want to eat somewhere popular. If you're in a hotel the concierge can usually help with bookings too.
* Some quick picks - Around since 1975, Pancakes on The Rocks has long been a family favourite, and more so for those exploring the bustling area of The Rocks, with top landmarks located just minutes away. With a generous offering of salads, pizzas, crepes and of course pancakes, there is plenty to keep everyone happy. The cute kids-only menu is guaranteed to go down a treat with the little ones.
* For grab-and-go treats before or during a day of adventure, head to Bourke Street Bakery. After opening in 2004 as a small rustic corner store, the bakery has grown into a much loved hot spot, selling everything from ham and cheese croissants, hearty sandwiches and sausage rolls to delicious tarts and cakes. Insider tip: Surprise the kids with the chocolate and sour cherry cookies – you won’t regret it.
* Hop on a ferry for a day trip to the pretty Watsons Bay where Doyles on the Wharf awaits you for some fresh fish and chips. Kids can play in the nearby park or on the beach in front of Doyles.
* Picnics are a popular option in the city with plenty of tranquil parks. Make your way to The Royal Botanic Gardens and be surrounded by stunning flowers and spectacular views of the harbour. Or head to Barangaroo Reserve, for views of Balmain, Pyrmont and Darling Harbour – also the perfect spot to watch the sun go down.
* Following a morning of exploring the child-friendly exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, grab yourself a table at the rooftop Café. There is plenty of space for pushchairs, and high chairs can be provided. A special lunch box option is available for kids and the city views are unbeatable. Moms and Dads, get your cameras ready!
You could easily spend weeks in Sydney and still not get to see all the fantastic attractions and landmarks. Here are a few not to miss!
* Catch a ferry to Mosman and enjoy a day exploring the range of native wildlife and rare exotic animals at Taronga Zoo with the jaw-dropping backdrop of the beautiful Sydney Harbour. The kids will be delighted with the daily bird and seal shows and for something a little special, plan ahead and book yourself an encounter with the adorable koala bears, or tickets to a camp night at the zoo on the Roar and Snore tour.
* Ready to get some adrenaline pumping? Head over to Wild Ropes for an epic adventure with zip-lines and suspension bridges!
* For those rainy days, book a family ticket to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, to witness everything from sharks, stingrays and seahorses to turtles and penguins! For the adventure seekers, join the Shark Reef Snorkel tour for a thrilling underwater experience spotting sharks along the way.
* Sydney Olympic Park has plenty to keep the kids busy all day long! Hire a bike and explore the Bicentennial Park, learn some circus skills at Circus Arts Sydney or get wet and wild at the Aquatic Centre.
* Take a 40-minute bus ride from the CBD to the famous Bondi Beach, a surfer’s paradise. Have an ice-cream on the boardwalk, swim and play in the crystal clear waters, or pick a cafe on the strip and watch the world go by. For sporty kids, book classes with Lets Go Surfing.
* The Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is by far the most famous walking trail in Sydney and with very good reason. The stunning panoramic views of the South Pacific Ocean and the coastal cliffs will blow you away! The walk is an estimated 1.5-hours (including stops) and with a number of vantage points and beaches along the way, there are lots of opportunities to soak in the views, spot dolphins and whales or take a refreshing swim! End at Bronte Park, located just behind the beach. There are picnic tables, barbecues and one of Sydney's best playgrounds.
* Cycling at Manly Beach and SEA LIFE Sanctuary
* Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney (climbers must be 8 years and over)
* Sydney Tower Eye followed by Sydney Tower Buffet
* Darling Quarter’s free kid’s playground